Although nobody realized at that time, the summer of 2003 was a critical moment for Z-grade film. That June, Tommy Wiseau released his nutty rom-dram-com The Room ] in Los Angeles, giving viewers their first contact with the writer-director-star's penchant for hammy and nonsense performances by sequitors ("I did not hit her! Oh, hai, Mark!"). Then, in August, came the long-awaited and awaited DVD release of Troll 2 a forgotten horror film from 1990 in which goblins visibly without goblins revel in visibly untrained actors ("They are and then they will eat me ! Oh my Gooooooooooooooodddd ! ").
It would take a while, but finally The Room and Troll 2 would become the subject of rhapsodic conversations among fans of the movie, celebrated by fans of the web (which they would turn "They're eating her!" into a popular meme, with a YouTube clip earning more than 6 million views) and big name boosters ( early The room champions ] included Paul Rudd, David Cross and Kristen Bell). And while the films would slide into the mainstream in the next few years: cunning reference to The Room appeared in Veronica Mars in 2007, and Conan O & # 39; Brien endorsed ] Troll 2 in the air not long after that, but it also stayed quite a margin, which was a big part of the appeal. Each was the kind of happy fiasco that depended on word of mouth on a slow fire, with the new viewers feeling as if they had just let in an incredibly silly secret society.
But if The Room and Troll 2 were the first true camp cult clbadics of the 21st century, they were also among the last, the kind of secrets that no one could keep in these days. That became even clearer this past weekend, when The Room hit a watermark oh-hai with the release of James Franco & # 39; s The Disaster Artist. It is a moving cowardly comedy about the always mysterious Wiseau (James Franco) and the starry Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), two aspiring actors whose unilateral romance with Hollywood leads them to do The Room . Instead of mocking the almost radical horror of that film, The Disaster Artist celebrates the dedication of the two men to the cuckoo to make art, even if it is the kind of art that includes all kinds of errors of continuity and inexplicable arguments. At one point, while examining a special cascading water film effect device, a bewitched Franco-as-Wiseau states: "Like rain". Like bady rain. "It's a funny phrase, but it also conveys the strange and contagious magic of cinema, as well as the power that movies can have over all of us."
The Disaster Artist is not the first fraud intended to inspire a second more polished feature: in 2010, one of the stars of Troll 2 directed the making-of documentary Best Worst Movie which in turn became a tour forced to worship (Roger Ebert called it "curiously moving") Both Disaster Artist and Best Worst Movie legitimized their respective themes, treating them as pop-cultural phenomena worthy of further examination. But they are also silent reminders of why these extravagances could never be replicated, while The Room and Troll 2 found some of their early fans on the Internet, it was an Internet very different from the one we have now: in 2003, long-lived online video was loaded with memory or did not exist, and Netflix, Amazon and Hulu were years away from becoming viable and reliable transmission platforms. And it would take some years for social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter to become the first response collectives of popular culture 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Without those predetermined discovery engines now, they needed to do some work even to find out about The Room or Troll 2 let alone see them (some of the first major screenings of the city of New York for The room did not happen until 2009). In that way, the slow rise of the films echoed the trajectory of shocks as moving as the horrific Plan 9 From Outer Space by Ed Wood, or the epic of the giant bunny Night of the Lepus -films that took years, if not decades, to die and be reborn, their legends burnished by the midnight screenings, the evening soap operas and, eventually, the home video releases. There was never a moment of critical mbad for these films, so they were never subject to the kind of anticipation, arrival and retreat cycle that greets almost all the new works of art these days. They just waited to be discovered and rediscovered.
The room and Troll 2 may have found their followers more quickly than the curiosities of half a century ago, but the long construction -for their discoveries-that were such a part essential of its charm-it would be essentially impossible in 2017. Today, a movie like The Room that Wiseau advertised for years through a cryptic billboard and a bare-bones site, would be tapped by the Internet as soon as the sleepy face of Wiseau appeared over Los Angeles. From there, it is likely that the film will get a fast and noisy theatrical premiere (perhaps from A24 or Amazon Studios) before committing to transmit the infamy forever; a "really, this is fine", inevitably follow a violent reaction, with long and fun hot shots that would tear the film. Everyone would be in the cult of The Room but only for a day or two. The same could be said of Troll 2 : if it materialized suddenly again today, it would simply be One more ironic thing that we found on the Internet this morning, and then it will quickly be forgotten.
In addition, The long and unpredictable journey of The Room only amplifies the bittersweet feeling of The Disaster Artist. . In the almost fifteen years since the disastrous premiere of Wiseau in 2003, his film has evolved since has to do-this rarity with a radical mini-movement, one that is absorbed into millions of Room population. That kind of goodwill takes time to accumulate, the kind of time that is hard to find in the culture-consumption cycle that quickly metabolizes. "The dream will not go to you," says Wiseau at one point. " You have to go to sleep". And as shown by The Disaster Artist is even sweeter when you can share that dream with as many others as possible.